Catholic Word Getting Out in Pakistan

Priests Use Cable, Internet for TV Channels

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LAHORE, Pakistan, JUNE 25, 2009 ( Catholic communicators have found their way around Pakistani unwillingness to give airspace to the Church, taking advantage of cable and Internet to broadcast their message.

The first Catholic TV channels in Pakistan are bringing “good results in little time,” according to Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, president of the Pakistani episcopal conference’s National Center for Social Communications.

Catholic TV is founded and directed by Capuchin Father Morris Jalal from his parish in Lahore. Archbishop Saldanha told UCANews that “although this communication initiative has limited resources, it is a good way to reach not only the faithful, but the public at large.”

Father Jalal considers his foundation a way to “help construct and reinforce a peaceful and tolerant society.”

Programming includes Christian movies, documentaries on parish activities, talk shows, religious music, Sunday Mass and the rosary; it is estimated that the channel reaches some 8,000 Catholic families.

The Archdiocese of Karachi also launched a Catholic channel via internet this year: Good News TV. It is directed by Father Arthur Charles, who has plans to expand to radio and satellite TV.

“The Church should use the means of communication to spread the Gospel, as well as to educate and form youth,” Father Charles told the Fides news agency. “In today’s world, communication is incessant: We are bombarded by television, text messages, emails. … In this global village there should be a strong Catholic presence that announces the Word of God.”

Father Charles lauded the efforts being made by Benedict XVI to use technology to spread Christ’s message, noting, for example, the Vatican channel on YouTube.

“I have felt in perfect harmony with the Pope’s message for the World Day of Social Communications,” the priest stated, “when he affirms that digital technologies are a gift for humanity that can be useful for spreading solidarity and understanding among people and populations.”

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